DAR Hip Hop: 6 Underrated Producer/Rapper Duo Combinations

By @TrueGodImmortal

In hip hop, producer and rapper combinations are a normal thing. We see albums made by artists with only one or two producers on it and usually those are some of the greatest albums ever. Sometimes, artists just have producers that they work well with together and that bring the best out of them. If I made a list of the most popular producer and rapper combinations, you might think Gibbs and Madlib, Spitta and Alchemist, Nas and Premo, Jay and Pharrell, just to name a few. Well, today, I wanted to highlight 6 of the more underrated combos that brought us classics and great music. Who are the duos we decided to discuss? Let's take a look.

*Freeway and Just Blaze

-I always felt like Freeway and Just Blaze were an excellent combination, and it mostly stems from the work they would do together on the debut from Freeway. Both Kanye and Just Blaze provided Free with some amazing beats, but Just handles the majority of the album and it is honestly a beautiful listen. Beans and Just had good chemistry, Memphis Bleek and Just had some good chemistry, but in my opinion, Free had the better chemistry with Just. They fit each other perfectly, with Just producing classics by Free like "What We Do", "Flipside", "Alright", and more, including the 2012 "Early" as well. Their chemistry should spawn another album together one day, but time will tell if that ever comes to fruition.

*Nas and Large Professor

-There was no one that I thought could bring the best out of Nas quite like Large Professor. Sure, Premo gave him classics and so did Pete Rock, but the simple yet effective soulful boom bap that Large Pro would provide always seemed to mesh perfectly with Nas. They worked together sparingly in their careers as the years went on, but pretty much, every great Nas album has a Large Professor production outside of It Was Written, but Illmatic and Stillmatic all possess a beat from Large Pro, while Life Is Good . Large Professor would produce Nas classics like "Halftime", "It Ain't Hard To Tell", "Rewind", my favorite "You're Da Man", along with appearances on "Stay" and "Loco-Motive". Large Professor and Nas should have made an album together, because I can imagine it would be nothing short of a classic. I wanted a Nas and Large Pro album more than I wanted a Nas and Premo album honestly. That's how good their chemistry is.

*G-Unit and Sha Money XL

-So, you might not recognize the name Sha Money like that for new age fans, but in the prime of The Unit, Sha Money was vital. He was equally an executive as well as a producer, but on those G-Unit mixtapes and releases, he would contribute heavily. Starting with his work on 50's Power Of A Dollar on "You Ain't No Gangsta", Sha would contribute to almost every G-Unit release afterwards, making top notch productions like 50's classic "50 Bars", the G-Unit anthem "Bad News", "Poor Lil' Rich" from Get Rich Or Die Tryin, Lloyd Banks' "When The Chips Are Down", "This Is 50" from The Massacre, "You A Shooter" from the GRODT soundtrack, and more. Whenever The Unit needed that gritty sound, Sha would assist them alongside various other producers as well. G-Unit and Sha Money XL honestly was the sound of an era in a way, and it is a shame they separated the way that they did.

*B.G. and Mannie Fresh

-This might surprise some people, but I will forever say that B.G. was one of the best southern rappers period. There is no doubt in my mind that the New Orleans native was one of a kind and his lyricism and style resonated with me just like it did with Juvenile and Wayne, but B.G. was raw. He was one of my favorite rappers coming up, and alongside Mannie Fresh, he seemed unstoppable. They would make a ton of classics together, with Fresh producing the entirety of Chopper City, It's All On U, Chopper City In The Ghetto, and Checkmate. We often hear about how well Juve and Wayne benefitted from Mannie, but B.G. probably benefits the most from the crazy production prowess of Fresh the most. This is a legendary producer/rapper duo to me.

*DMX and Dame Grease

-I want to say that this is the greatest producer and rapper duo of the late 90's, but most people think Swizz Beatz when they think of DMX. Not for me. Sure, Swizz was a big part of the success and was vital in DMX's career, but the truth is, Dame Grease was really the producer that provided the sounds and the music we all loved early on. Dame was a huge part of It's Dark And Hell Is Hot, contributed to Flesh Of My Flesh..., as well as pivotal tracks on all of the later X albums including And Then There Was X and The Great Depression. Dame and DMX had chemistry and when I think of his career, I think Dame Grease was the best producer to work alongside of X for his style.

*Twista and Kanye West

-So, Kanye has great chemistry with a number of people, but the one artist that he seemed to work with very well is Twista. They didn't work together for very long, but the short period of time they did work together led to some great music and some great music in hip hop. Their work came on the highest selling Twista album Kamikaze, and would spawn three classic tracks in the two hits "Overnight Celebrity" and "Slow Jamz", along with "One Last Time". All three tracks were amazing and showcased a chemistry that was top notch. It is a shame that the only notable collab we got after this was "Alright" as a bonus track on Category F5. This duo, like all those listed, left us wanting more music from them together, a mark of a great combination for sure.



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